Jared Spurgeon kept playing well and the expectation was that he would be rewarded for it eventually.
Sure enough, the Wild signed the defender to a seven-year, $7.575 million AAV pact. The contract kicks in for 2020-21 which helps for this year at least. Let’s take a deeper look at this extension.
What Jared Spurgeon means to the Minnesota Wild
Spurgeon’s ice time rose to over 24 minutes a night again as the defenseman finally saw time in all phases. He seemed to be overstretched at times but was able to adapt. Spurgeon scored a career-high 14 goals and 43 points in 2018-19.
The defenseman played well even in the face of a collapsing Minnesota season where the Wild did not make the playoffs. His ability to move the puck up ice quickly was only equaled by his ability to create solid scoring chances.
Now, the contract is signed and sealed. The first question asked has to be, who will Spurgeon be paired with now? He is the “unofficial number one defenseman” in Minnesota now. A healthy Matt Dumba paired with Spurgeon would be an intriguing pairing. However, do the Wild coaching staff do that on the power-play, even-strength, both, or none of the above?
The soon to be 30-year-old gains a chance to have 45-50 point upside in Minnesota this season. That could continue for a few years perhaps.
Here is a PuckPedia snapshot on Jared Spurgeon.
The #MNWild sign 29 y/o D Jared Spurgeon to 7 year $7.575M Cap Hit extension. Was in yr 4/4 $5.189M Cap Hit deal & set to be UFA after year.
-14G 43P in 82GP
-50.9% 5v5 GF
-55.9% Expected GF
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) September 14, 2019
Next, there is the numerology.
The numerology of Jared Spurgeon
Fortunately, Spurgeon adapted to his changing role as injuries took hold. When Matt Dumba was lost for the season, the Wild defenseman stepped right into Dumba’s role for the most part. Last year, he started in the defensive zone 46.5% of the time as opposed to 52.1% in 2017-2018.
The defenseman dropped to a +1% relative last year and that second half was around even despite Minnesota’s plummet down the standings.
Also, experts point to that his expected goals for that were 2.27% up from the team average relative. Also, his points per 60 are solid, hovering around 1.2 for most of the year.
Here is a standardized RAPM chart from Evolving Hockey.
Even tougher minutes greet Spurgeon in 2019-20 as Ryan Suter is on the other side of his 30’s. Taking a look at the RAPM Chart reveals a few things. One is the improvement on the power play. Consider how inconsistent the Wild power play has been over the past few seasons. Spurgeon presents as one of the few consistent aspects.
Spurgeon became a little weaker in offensive expected goals and Corsi For but not so and was still above the team relatives. The previous two seasons saw a bit of a yo-yo effect with offensive goals for but that was because of the Wild offense more than it was Spurgeon.
This signing looked like a nice one to some and yet a gamble later in the deal. Few dispute the AAV but the term of seven years is a bit troubling. Remember this contract does not kick in until Spurgeon turns 31. He will be almost 38 by the end of the extension.
To think Spurgeon was a training camp tryout in 2010 and turned into a defensive stud. Now, he is arguably one of the best 25 defensemen in the entire NHL.
The details of the Jared Spurgeon deal
The Spurgeon extension gives the defenseman a seven-year contract and those are all UFA years. That is good news. Is the $7.525 million AAV a bit expensive? It might be later in the deal.
Furthermore, there is an NMC for the first four years of the deal and then a modified no-trade clause for the final three. What does that mean? Spurgeon submits a ten-team no-trade list to the Wild. This protects the defenseman from the expansion draft. He is a player who has truly earned this extension on and off the ice.
Some final words on Jared Spurgeon
Spurgeon showed last year he can take over the top-defenseman role from Ryan Suter. Now, can he lead as Suter has shown in the past? At some point, the ice time will reflect this as well. The question will be how Spurgeon handles that transition. Everything indicates he should do just fine with it.
Spurgeon expects to live up to his new salary but can he excel for enough of the term? That is the burning question. Five or six years would probably work given salary cap increases. The real work begins now for Jared Spurgeon.